Fermented in concrete, then aged in demi-muids, only around 20% of which were new, Baron’s 2009 Syrah En Cerise Vineyard incorporates a mouthwateringly savory alliance of smoke meat and soy sauce to its luxuriantly rich, silken-textured matrix of confitured cassis and cherry, further laced with salted caramel, while striking perfume of mint, gentian, cardamom, and rose wood hovers above the glass and inner-mouth. The finish here lingers with an uncanny combination of seductive caress, vibrancy, richness, and buoyancy, its many flavor strands – floral, fruited, animal, spice and mineral – dynamically intertwining. I would surely give at least some bottles of it 12-15 years’ opportunity to show their true potential. Cautious as I attempt to be in drawing such parallels, if Baron’s latest Cailloux bottling resembles Verset Cornas, then this En Cerise puts one in mind of another of his Rhone heroes and (albeit self-effacing) near-legends, Marius Gentaz of Cote Rotie, and in either instance Baron’s result measures up to that of these old masters.
Rich, supple and opulent, this is generous with its blackberry, purple plum, black olive, tobacco and dusky spice flavors, remaining complex and harmonious through the long, balanced finish.
"Cayuse is no longer a secret and it may be America’s toughest mailing list to crack....but do whatever it takes to get your hands on a few of these gems."
- Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate
Cayuse Vineyard’s winemaker, Christopher Baron, a Champagne native, raised by a family of vignerons, had a hankering for somewhere perfect to plant Pinot Noir. He traveled all over the world to find his ideal site, and he found a neglected cherry orchard in Walla Walla, Washington that was littered with stones. These baseball size stones covering the soil reminded him of Châteauneuf-du-Pape changing his dream to plant Syrah.
Now, his five specific vineyards cover 41 acres produce mainly Syrah along with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Roussanne, Tempranillo and Viognier. Now owning three brands: Cayuse, Horsepower, and No Girls, all wines are made from each estate vineyard that practices bio. These are some of the most highly sought-after, professional palate impressing wines ever to come out of Washington.
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